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Brent Cobb - Providence Canyon (Low Country Sound/Atlantic Records)

Star rating: 
4

Whilst Nashville remains the capital of country music for many, there's an increasing interest in songwriters with a rougher edge hailing from other areas of the USA's southern states. Music fans are well aware of the scene in Austin and the surrounding areas of Texas but now we're hearing great music from Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and so on. These are areas rich in musical history - think of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tony Joe White and The Allman Brothers for starters.  Artists that draw their inspiration from their own local backgrounds just as we hear in the rising tide of songwriters like Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Colter Wall and Tyler Childers.

Georgia born Brent Cobb floated into view with his 2016 release SHINE ON RAINY DAY, a record that got everyone talking and a 2017 nomination as Emerging Artist Of The Year at the annual Americana Music Awards as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album in that same year. The much-anticipated follow up record, PROVIDENCE CANYON, is now in our midst. Like its predecessor, its produced by Grammy Award winning Dave Cobb - yes, musical talent runs deep in the family.

As you'd guess from its title which nods in the direction of the Providence Canyon State Park in Southwest Georgia, this album is again inspired by Cobb's roots in that area. The title track itself being a pedal steel driven celebration of a trip with friends to this beautiful part of the world. High In The Country tells of the escapism from the daily drudge that such trips offer as does Sucker For A Good Time. There are great hooks wherever you look with two of the best coming with King Of Alabama about the loss of Wayne Mills and Come Home Soon with its yearning for a return. This latter track is typical of the layers that Cobb adds to his lyrics with its reflection on the outsider who has no home, the problems of addiction and a life on the road that comes with the dichotomy of being alone whilst surrounded by lots of people. He's a master of capturing what he sees on his travels.

Like its predecessor, there's a mix of musical approaches ranging from a back porch, chilled feel through to an electric band sound like the southern boogie of the closing Ain't A Road Too Long. On the latter, we're reassured that Brent Cobb will be pursuing this career for some time just as he encourages Lorene to chase her dream on the track bearing her name. That's good to hear as this album proves Brent Cobb not only chases dreams but catches them too.

Steve Henderson
Northern Sky